News Digest Item
21 Jul 2016

“Driving Europe’s transition to a low-carbon economy”

European Commission

EU Member States must together reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30 percent by 2030 compared to 2005 for the transport, buildings, agriculture, waste, land-use and forestry sectors, according to a proposal by the European Commission. The Effort Sharing Regulation proposal includes binding annual GHG emissions targets for each of the member states from 2021-2030. Germany would have to reduce its emissions by 38 percent until 2030 compared to 2005. The affected sectors do not fall under the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), but made up almost 60 percent of total EU emissions in 2014, according to a factsheet by the Commission. The institution’s proposal package on “Europe’s transition to a low-carbon economy” also includes a strategy on low-emission mobility and a proposal to integrate the land use sector into the EU 2030 Climate and Energy Framework. The latter contains a provision giving member states the possibility to include emission removals from land use – e.g. through forests that absorb the emissions – to balance out their emissions.
German environment minister Barbara Hendricks welcomed the Commission’s plan in a press release and said that Germany’s existing national targets were already “a bit more ambitious” than the proposed 38 percent reduction of GHG emissions. Hendricks also said that she would support only a “cautious application” of exceptional regulations like using forest absorption to balance out emissions.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) claimed that the proposal meant that agreements from last year’s Paris climate summit were “not reflected in the concrete EU climate policy”, according to a press release. “Not only is the target too weak, but the new plan is also riddled by loopholes,” said Juliette de Grandpré, EU climate and energy policy expert at WWF Germany. In a separate press release, the non-profit environmental and consumer protection association Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) writes that exceptional rules like the “forest-loans” would have “fatal consequences for the effectiveness of the instruments”.

Read the press release and find the corresponding material in English here.

Find the German press releases by the environment ministry here, by WWF here and by DUH here.

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